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In My Country (2005)

Juliette Binoche , Samuel L. Jackson , John Boorman  |  R |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Juliette Binoche, Samuel L. Jackson, Brendan Gleeson, Menzi Ngubane, Sam Ngakane
  • Directors: John Boorman
  • Writers: Ann Peacock, Antjie Krog
  • Producers: John Boorman, Chris Auty, David Wicht, Duncan Reid, Jamie Brown
  • Format: Digital Sound, Closed-captioned, Dolby, Anamorphic, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 5, 2005
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009I8QGI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,502 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "In My Country" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by director John Boorman
  • Deleted scenes with optional commentary
  • Interviews with the cast, director, and producers

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Released in the wake of Hotel Rwanda, In My Country tackles another grim chapter in African history. Set during South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the film is adapted from Antjie Krog's Country of My Skull. Oscar-winner Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) is Anna, an Africaans poet and broadcaster, and Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction) is Langston, a Chicago reporter. The two meet during the hearings and take an instant dislike to each other. In due time, however, they come to an understanding and embark on a tentative affair, despite Anna's faith in the hearings and Langston's doubts. John Boorman, whose previous features were the underrated Beyond Rangoon and The Tailor of Panama, coaxes sensitive performances from his leads and sheds welcome light on an important event, but In My Country never catches fire. Boorman regular Brendan Gleeson (The General), however, makes a memorable appearance as a sadistic police chief. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

Directed by John Boorman ("Hope and Glory"), this involving drama follows Washington Post reporter Samuel L. Jackson as he covers the 1996 Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in South Africa. As the victims and perpetrators of apartheid confront each other, he interrogates a brutal military colonel about his crimes while forming an unexpected bond with poet/journalist Juliette Binoche. Brendan Gleeson, Menzi Ngubane, Sam Ngakane co-star. AKA: "Country of My Skull." 103 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital 5.0; Subtitles: French; audio commentary by Boorman; deleted scenes; interviews.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
This 2004 film is also called "In The Country of My Skull" and must have had a very short run at the box office because I never heard of it. And yet it stars Samuel L. Jackson and Juliette Binoche, both excellent actors. Their roles demand nuanced performances in this story set at The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa after Apartheid ended. In order to keep the country from upheavals and violence, these hearings allowed people to appear before a public tribunal, confess exactly what they did, convince the tribunal that they were just following orders, and then make a public apology. These hearings were heart wrenching for all, but allowed redemption. Most of the people were forgiven or given light jail sentences. But then there were some whose crimes went way beyond the limits that could be pardoned.

The film, based on a memoir by a journalist, is fictionalized for greater impact. Samuel L. Jackson is cast as a Washington Post reporter who is covering the story. Juliette Binoche is an Afrikaner who does a local daily radio broadcast. Both are married. And yet a strong bond forms between these too, leading to a romance. Their roles call for emotional complexity. And both of them succeed magnificently, seeming to enter the very core of their characters as they meet both victims and victimizers and grasp the reality of the horror. I applaud their performances and I applaud the screenplay. I was totally involved and also very sad. The film presented some upsetting truths. And, as when any truth is probed this deeply, there are no easy answers.

I didn't cry real tears. It was not that kind of film. Rather I felt it deep inside and now, several weeks later, I am still thinking about it.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complex and rewarding. November 22, 2005
By Wendell
Format:DVD
I'm one who enjoyed this movie. I haven't always been a John Boorman fan. He's sort of hit or miss with me, and it often feels that his politics highjacks the story and pushes the characters in certain ways. I didn't feel this way about this film, though.

I did find the Truth and Reconcilation testimonies to be convincing and heartrending. They give you enough of the horrors of Apartheid without making the entire movie nothing more than a catalog of crimes.

I like the relationships between Binoche's and Jackson's characters. It felt real to me, and interesting that Boorman deals maturely with infidelity. He doesn't make an overt issue of it, but we as viewers certainly know that both these characters are married with children. Still, however, they're put together and surrounded by such emotive material that it makes sense they should be drawn together.

Don't go away from some of the earlier reviews thinking this is a feel-good movie in which whites come off looking good. They don't. Binoche's character is an activist, yes, but her father's a racist and her brother, it turns out, was involved in incredible atrocities. This movie is far from simple. Just the opposite, it does honor to a complex issue that taints all the players.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, (TRC), was a court-like body assembled in South Africa after Apartheid ended. The mandate of the commission, established under Nelson Mandela, was "to bear witness to, record and in some cases grant amnesty to the perpetrators of crimes relating to human rights violations, reparation and rehabilitation." Anybody who felt they had been a victim of violence could come forward and be heard before the Commission. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request Amnesty from prosecution. The hearings made headlines around the world and many sessions were televised on national TV.

John Boorman's political drama is set in South Africa in 1996, at the beginning of the TRC hearings. The film includes testimony which graphically describes the brutal atrocities perpetrated under the apartheid system and is extremely moving. The hearings were designed to bring a measure of domestic peace to South Africa following decades of violent, inhumane and repressive government. I believe that Boorman's goal here is to help westerners understand the African concept of "ubuntu," or justice that involves confession, forgiveness and a restoration of amity rather than mere retribution. And he does succeed on many levels. However, the movie has some major flaws which seriously distract from the inspirational story.

Anna Malan, (Juliette Binoche), a progressive Afrikaaner journalist and poet, is assigned to cover the hearings for a local radio station in Cape Town. Her commentary will also be broadcast on National Public Radio in the United States. Anna comes from a wealthy South African family with large landholdings. They have farmed here for generations.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
IN MY COUNTRY (COUNTRY OF MY SKULL), based on a book by Antjie Krog about South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of 1996 set in the aftermath of Apartheid, has been altered by screenwriter Ann Peacock and director John Boorman who have elected to 'dramatize' that event by fleshing out 'committed journalists' on both sides of the color fence: South Afrikaner Anna Malan (Juliette Binoche) and American hothead Langston Whitfield (Samuel L. Jackson). The dichotomy of the white/black reconciliation is thus reversed; Anna is white defending the South African blacks while Langston is black firing his vitriol against the white South Afrikaners.

The story is immensely important to tell: 21,800 blacks were tortured and killed in the final days of Apartheid, but in the wisdom of South African philosophy the perpetrators are given amnesty if they confront their crimes and show remorse. This noble morality is the single most touching aspect of this story.
During the Commission hearings all reporters hear the grief of the victims' families and are stunned. Though initially hostile to each other, Anna and Langston gradually are able to listen to each other's perspectives and become romantically involved (both are married with children) and as the film ends the affair is ended in keeping with the example of the truth the TRC has established.

In an attempt to make this reality into a movie the impact is dulled by the Hollywoodesque treatment. Yes, Binoche and Jackson are fine actors (as is Menzi Ngubane who plays a wholly loveable South African instigator), but the melodrama they are forced to enact is superficial and does not add to the otherwise powerful message of this film. This is a movie that deserves the attention of a wide audience. Just pay more attention to the facts than to the soupy frosting under which it plays. Grady Harp, July 05
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful movie
Wonderfull movie. Touched my heart and spirit. Samuel l. jackson never lets you down with his performances. Apartied was and is wrong.
Published 2 months ago by rose lovell
5.0 out of 5 stars In My Country
I would recommend everyone to see this movie, so they can
get some kind of understand on how others have suffered in the world. Read more
Published 2 months ago by lynette
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Look:
Good Look:
Good look into the South African Reconciliation trials and the horrors they brought to the surface / public. USA should have the same.
.
Published 4 months ago by Enilo Lekan Balanta
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
True reflection of what happened in South Africa after the fall of apartheid. Great role play by all the cast especially Samuel Jackson
Published 12 months ago by Clive Desouza
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking tale
This movie gripes you in and doesn't let you go throughout the film, and tales the sad tale of true events while it has you in its grasp. Read more
Published on January 17, 2012 by Nishi
5.0 out of 5 stars On the Other Side
Wow,both actors were outstanding. The honesty of the director reflected in this saga was insightful. In the US, information about these trials were extremely limited. Read more
Published on May 15, 2011 by Didi Pratt
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching GOOD FILM
If you have brains AND heart...or maybe just the heart, this is a great movie.
Subject matter is worthwhile instead of frivolous. Read more
Published on May 13, 2010 by Rextrent
1.0 out of 5 stars South Africa after Apartheid
Great acting by Jackson and whole crew. Story ruined by makeshift love interest. African dialect very hard to understand and sound quality poor. Read more
Published on May 6, 2009 by TJ-STL
5.0 out of 5 stars In My Country
In My Country is the best movie I have seen about the changes in South Africa from Apartheid to free and the Truth and Reconciliation Committee. Read more
Published on October 3, 2008 by Patricia A. Bartlett
2.0 out of 5 stars Justice and Forgiveness: Well-Intentioned, But Too Melodramatic
"In My Country" (also known as "Country of My Skull") stars Juliette Binoche and Samuel L. Jackson based on Antjie Krog's novel. Read more
Published on June 15, 2007 by Tsuyoshi
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